Edited by Richard Laymon





Features the Edward Lee story “Seeing You Again” with John Pelan.


A Message from Richard Laymon:

On several occasions over the years, I've been asked to edit anthologies of horror stories. I always declined the offers, figuring my time would be better spent in writing new fiction of my own. Besides, how would I get stories for an anthology? 

Then, last October at the World Fantasy Convention in Monterey, while Ann and I were hanging out with Matt Johnson and John Skipp, there was banter about an anthology called Haunted Pants. The notion seemed hilarious. We talked to several other writers about it. Everyone laughed and wanted to write stories for it. 

I came home from Monterey with plans to get in touch with John Skipp. I would tell him, "If you don't seriously want to edit Haunted Pants, maybe I'll do it." Then I got to thinking. Why go to so much effort for a "joke" anthology? Why not do a serious one? That's when I decided to do Bad News. 

Several years ago, I wrote a short story called "Bad News" for Night Visions 7. It's about a little monster that a guy brings into his house with his morning newspaper. For some reason, "Bad News" popped into my head and I thought it would be a very appropriate title for an anthology of "bad" short stories. The title is the only connection between my earlier short story and the Bad News anthology. 

Now, what sort of theme should the anthology have? I'm often being invited to submit stories to anthologies, and almost every anthology has a theme, a unifying gimmick. Often, they're very bizarre. The stories must all "take place ten years after werewolves have taken over the world" or "deal with the repercussions of psychotic behavior in our educational system" or "explore the chaos theory in terms of goblinolgy," etc. I'm sure themes do have a place -- apparently a major place in the minds of many publishers. But I don't much like 'em. I find them not only restrictive, but sometimes incomprehensible. The moment I came up with the idea of doing Bad News, I knew that I didn't want it to have a "theme." 

I just wanted to get the best stories possible from a special, limited number of writers whose fiction appeals to me. Writers I know. Writers I respect. Maybe that was my theme. 

Before contacting any writers about contributing to the anthology, I got in touch with Richard Chizmar. Cemetery Dance had done a great job publishing several of my books, so I went to Rich first and he expressed interest in doing Bad News. 

Now that I could say the anthology would be published by Cemetery Dance, I contacted the writers and asked them to contribute stories. I wrote to them, "The anthology doesn't have any special theme. I just want a scary story. It can be horror, dark crime, whatever." This caused some perplexity. "You sure there isn't a theme?" And I would tell them, "Write about whatever you want. I just want a good, scary story from you." 

And in came the stories from my own personally selected list of the best writers around. I know all the people who wrote them. In some cases, I've been reading and enjoying their work for many years. In other cases, I've discovered them more recently: they're newcomers who deserve to be better known. In every case, they write powerful fiction.


Table of Contents:
"Introduction (Bad News)" by Richard Laymon 
"On Wings That So Darkly Beat" by Simon Clark 
"The Best" by Jack Ketchum 
"Gethsemane (Reprise): A Brackard's Point Story" by Geoff Cooper 
"Girl Under Glass" by Lucy Taylor 
"Lamia" Edo Van Belkom 
"The Mayor of Asshole Valley" by Bill Pronzini 
"Seeing You Again" by Edward Lee and John Pelan
"The Death Scene" by Nancy Holder 
"The Interview" by Richard Chizmar 
"Performance" F. Paul Wilson 
"Double Date" by Richard Laymon 
"Ghoul" by Roman A. Ranieri 
"The Whole Head Is Sick, the Whole Heart Faint" by Tom Piccirilli 
"On the Run" by Ed Gorman 
"Tree Hugger" by Bentley Little 
"Lila Came a Walkin'" by Rain Graves 
"Welcome Aboard" by Gary Brandner 
"Nightmare Transcript" by Rick Hautala